Call for Luis Suarez to break away jinx
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has challenged striker Luis Suarez to end his long drought without a Champions League away goal and lead his side to victory against Chelsea in Wednesday’s last-16 second leg.
Suarez has not scored in a European away game since netting for Barcelona in a group stage match with AS Roma in 2015 and his side could certainly use his goals as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit at Stamford Bridge.
“Suarez is a crucial player for us, a striker with a huge amount of experience and influence. It would be the perfect match to break that run which everyone keeps talking about, so why not?” Simeone told a news conference. “Tomorrow could be a beautiful night for him and for us.”
Atletico have fond memories of their last match in England in March 2020, when they knocked out then Champions League holders Liverpool with a thrilling 3-2 victory after extra-time at Anfield, although they had held a 1-0 lead in the tie from the first leg.
Simeone said the negative result was motivating Atletico to play with more ambition than in the first leg, held in Bucharest due to Covid-19 restrictions.
He also praised Chelsea’s resurgence under Thomas Tuchel and said his side’s best chance of winning would be to put the Premier League outfit under pressure by scoring an early goal.
Tuchel, however, said he was wary of Simeone’s side who have Kieran Trippier, Yannick Carrasco and Jose Gimenez back for the second leg.
“With Simeone, they are one of the toughest teams to beat, this is their characteristic — discipline, hard working and organised defence,” Tuchel said.
Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick said his Bundesliga leaders are determined to continue their good form when they host Lazio and will not take the Italians lightly on Wednesday.
Bayern moved towards the quarter finals by thrashing Lazio 4-1 in the first leg in Rome last month. “We’ve delivered strong performances in the Champions League, as well as in the Bundesliga. Our current aim is to continue on in this manner,” Flick said.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and winger Kingsley Coman are doubtful for the game.